Delicate balance of human and manager at the office Christmas party

christmas party

Whilst it is fantastic we can get back together, remember that by law, there are still social distancing protocols to cover off on and a whole group photo at the end of the night (you get my drift) once everyone has had a bevvy or two will not bode well when it gets posted and commented by your resident company social influencer. These images could land you in hot water with more than your CEO. Remind people of the current laws to avoid any potential fallout, writes Mark LeBusque

What I don’t like about office Christmas Parties is looking for a job the next day – Phyllis Diller

It’s that time of the year, in a year like no other, when the excitement and anticipation of the office Christmas Party starts to build to fever pitch.

Many will have already called off the end of year festivities, particularly those who have decided to make 2020 the year of WFH, and will opt for the virtual celebrations over Zoom, MS Teams, Skype for Business, or whatever their platform of choice has become. No doubt there will be disappointment for some who look forward to the end of year catch up and the chance to celebrate with their work colleagues.

However, as some states are more advanced in re-opening, the planning and excitement will be building. There will be many who after a year of constraints, will be ready to unleash at what could possibly be their first human to human social event for 8 months.

As a manager, how can you ensure that all of this built up excitement, energy and need to let go doesn’t end up in throwing more curveballs into a year that has already provided the greatest challenges you have ever faced?

Here are five failsafe ways to keep that Christmas Party from going sideways and turning 2021 into another year to forget from the fallout of a bad end to 2020:

  1. Open Bars Are Recipes for Disaster 
    Similar to the saying, “like pigs to strawberries.” You know the type who usually sip away on a beer or a nice glass of pinot are all of a sudden doing laybacks or shots at the bar. It doesn’t take long and things will get very messy. It’s better to cop some criticism for limiting the drinks menu, and possibly having a tab for a limited time than having two or three of the team comatose on tequila slammers.
  2. Company Policy Applies to Secret Santa
    One of the fun elements at an end of year bash is receiving a gift from a secret Santa at work. Unfortunately, in the excitement of the gift buying moment, there’s a chance that a ‘joke’ or a ‘fun present’ will cause someone personal harm and will potentially breach company policy. The last thing you want to do in the break is investigate via the process of elimination who the culprit was. A timely disclaimer is the best way to remind work colleagues of their responsibilities.
  3. Say no to a Booze Fuelled Performance or Pay Review
    As a manager, you know there will be a chance that one of your team members will still be carrying some baggage from the latest pay or performance review. Once they get on the truth serum, there’s every chance of a confrontation with them. This can be embarrassing for both of you. Keep an eye on that team member and shutdown any conversation they look to start very quickly with a simple “we’re here to enjoy each other’s company, not talk work.”
  4. Set Yourself a Time Window
    Whilst you are the manager, you aren’t a babysitter or security guard that needs to be there until the last patron potentially staggers out of the function. Go along with an exit strategy for yourself, and stick to it. I’m sure there will be some ridicule but it will soon be forgotten when you next see the troops in 2021.
  5. Social Distancing Still Applies
    Whilst it is fantastic we can get back together, remember that by law, there are still social distancing protocols to cover off on and a whole group photo at the end of the night (you get my drift) once everyone has had a bevvy or two will not bode well when it gets posted and commented by your resident company social influencer. These images could land you in hot water with more than your CEO. Remind people of the current laws to avoid any potential fallout.

I’m not for one moment being the party pooper here, however humans who have been cooped up for up to 8 months in some places have been released and this could end in tears at the end of year company Christmas party.

A few friendly words of reminder about protocols, policy and laws here and there will go a long way to having a night to remember for the right reasons.

We all deserve a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays in 2020.

Image Source: Unsplash